Bankruptcy filing shows once-lucrative adoption agency left with $57,000

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Channel 2 Action News has obtained a newly filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy showing an adoption agency that made millions of dollars in recent years is now left with $57,000.

The California-based Independent Adoption Agency, which has serviced hundreds of metro Atlanta families,   also lists clients and their personal information as creditors while employee information is redacted. The Friday night filing comes days after Channel 2’s Nicole Carr reported there was no bankruptcy filed in California courts following the agency’s citation of Chapter 7 as the reason for locking its doors.


“How in 2014 did you have $6.5 million and you were healthy and now all you have is $57,000 in assets? I mean what happened? Chris Dahlberg asked.

Dahlberg and his husband Eric, a Lilburn couple, have put $17,000 into the adoption process with the IAC, and remain in support groups with other families looking for direction after Tuesday’s closure.

“Why? Eric Dahlberg asked. “Why couldn’t you have just started by being honest?”

The Dahlbergs point to numerous emails sent to clients from the IAC in early January, touting lofty promises and noting business as usual, continuing a 34-year legacy.

“So we all had this great sense of hope and that’s what’s been taken away more than anything,” Eric Dahlberg said.

Channel 2 Action News also pulled a Georgia business license renewal filed just a week before the bankruptcy. Additionally, a newly-obtained January memo shows the IAC executive team coaxed clients weeks ahead of their closure, strongly encouraging them to purchase online profile boosters amid increased national competition and demand for birth mothers. Those online advertisements sold for more than $2,000, according to clients.

Carr has been in contact with Atlanta-based adoption attorney Sherry Neal who noted the agency has now locked and secured personal documents at the state’s direction.

“Documentation was not sent to out-of-state families, families whose home studies were on “hold” status with the agency, or families with closed/completed adoptions,” Neal said in an email reply to an inquiry about IAC client guidance.  “I am happy to answer questions for families about their documents and to assist anyone with an active file or an ongoing adoption with getting information needed to complete the adoption.“

Neal also warned against rushing into adoptions that don't meet Georgia legal standards. She offered the Georgia Council of Adoption Lawyers and the Georgia Association of Licensed Adoption Agencies (www.galaa.org) as resources.

Additionally, the Washington, D.C.-based American Academy of Adoption Attorneys issued a statement on Saturday regarding the the IAC closure, and offered victims its legal assistance free of charge.

A list of those voluntary attorneys will posted to www.adoptionattorneys.org on Monday.